Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A week's worth of fresh coriander

I hate how you have to buy coriander in huge bunches. No matter what I make, half of it ends up going bad in my fridge. I've tried the glass of water and plastic bag over the top trick: no joy. So this week I was determined to get through more than half the bunch I purchased to put in the eggplant and peanut stew from a few days ago. Here are the three meals I managed to tuck some of that green goodness into.

Red curry tilapia with coriander cream


2 tilapia fillets
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander

Combine sour cream and coriander in a bowl; stir well and set aside.

Rub fish with red curry paste on both sides of each fish fillet. Spray a roasting pan lightly with oil and lay the fish into it. Spray tops with oil lightly and broil 13 minutes or until fish yields easily to fork. Serve alongside your choice of starch (we had mashed white and sweet potatoes with some chopped coriander mixed in) and veggies. Dollop each fish fillet with coriander cream and eat immediately.

Red lentil and cauliflower dal

I scored this recipe from one of the Australian gals on 3WA, who says it comes from Delicious magazine, an Aussie publication. It was tasty but would have been much nicer if I'd had Indian curry paste and far more flavourful veggie stock. I find red lentils a little tasteless; they need a lot of flavour boosting. The slow cooked onions and the chunks of cauliflower were very good though. I think next time I'd fry the cauliflower a bit in some curry paste and then set aside until the last few minutes of cooking; it's hard to get good flavour into it otherwise.

This is very easy to make and much quicker than it might look.

2 tbs vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbs medium-hot Indian curry paste (I used 2 tbsp yellow curry powder, 1 tsp garam masala and 1/4 tsp hot Indian chili powder)
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tbs tomato paste
I medium cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup(120g) frozen peas, thawed (left these out because I had none)
2 tbs roughly chopped coriander leaves, plus extra chopped coriander to garnish
naan bread, to serve

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and spices, then cook, stirring for 5 minutes
or until onion softens. Add lentils and stir well to coat.

Add stock and tomato paste, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
Return heat to medium, add cauliflower and simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Add peas for final 2 minutes, then stir in coriander. Serve with naan, garnished with extra
coriander.


Tamale Pie

This one is the real prizewinner of Coriander Week. I sort of free-formed the bean mixture and used a Cooking Light recipe for the cornbread topping, and it came out spectacularly well. You could leave out the cheese layer, but it makes for a nice surprise. Going into regular rotation here, now that Chris has finally embraced the Way of the Cornbread. Persistence pays off.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large jar salsa (I used PC medium heat and the dregs of a jar of their salsa verde)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
juice of half a lime

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1.5 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup corn kernels
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander

1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

In a large saucepan saute the zucchini in the oil over medium heat 5-6 minutes or until beginning to go translucent. Add beans, salsa and tomato paste, stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then simmer 10 minutes. Stir in coriander and lime juice and remove from heat.

Meanwhile make the topping. Combine dry ingredients well. Add green onions, corn and coriander, stir well. Add egg, milk and butter and stir to make a stiff dough. Pour the bean mixture into a casserole dish; sprinkle over the cheese, then spread the cornmeal dough carefully over the top. Bake at 400 F for 35 minutes or until golden and browned in spots.

Makes 5 generous servings, if you have enough willpower.

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